Laguna Seca/Phoenix: Derhaag Motorsports preview

Ruhlman and Bingham set for back-to-back Rolex Cup races at Laguna Seca and Phoenix Monterey, CA (May 3, 2006) --Derhaag Motorsports and drivers Randy Ruhlman and Chris Bingham are ready with the ...

Ruhlman and Bingham set for back-to-back Rolex Cup races at Laguna Seca and Phoenix

Monterey, CA (May 3, 2006) --Derhaag Motorsports and drivers Randy Ruhlman and Chris Bingham are ready with the #40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley for the first back-to-back races of the 2006 Rolex Cup Series season, as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosts Round 6 of the Grand American Daytona Prototype cars. A full points qualifying race on Saturday will be followed Sunday, May 7th by the main feature, a 250-mile race on the 2.238-mile, hilly road course in Monterey, California. The 48 teams of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve then head straight south for Round 7, an evening feature race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, May 13th.

For Randy Ruhlman and Chris Bingham the return to Laguna Seca for the U.S. Sports Car Invitational is a homecoming of sorts. For Bingham, who has gone on to win two Grand American Sports Car Championships, this was the beginning of his racing career. "I started racing at Laguna with the Jim Russell racing school. I won my graduate run off here and finished runner up in their Championship series and Pro Series. It's a great track and one of my favorites. I've also been here in World Sports cars (Riley & Scott MK3), Indy Lights, the Saleen S7R, and last year in DP," says Bingham.

Ruhlman also began his racing career with wins at Laguna Seca, though for him, it was in sedan racing. But for Ruhlman, Laguna Seca is most memorable as the site of the final showdown for the 2004 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship with Ruhlman, Tommy Kendall, and Paul Gentilozzi in the closest championship battle in Trans-Am history. "It's always fun to come to back to Laguna. Not only is it fast and demanding, but going down the Corkscrew is as fun and exciting as it looks. In these DP cars with the downforce and excellent handling, I just can't wait to get in the DP car here!" exclaims Ruhlman.

Derhaag Motorsports has also had success at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, having won here two years in a row with their Corvette Trans-Am program. This year, in their debut season in Grand American Rolex Cup racing, the team is in fourteenth place overall after the first five rounds of competition. The driving pair of Bingham and Ruhlman with Derhaag Motorsports scored a top ten finish at the Long Beach Grand Prix in only their fourth outing in the #40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley, engineered by Buddy Fey.

On-track activities start at Laguna Seca on Thursday with two promoter test-day sessions. Friday is the first official on-track day with Rolex Cup DP practice beginning at 10:30--12 PM and from 2:30--3:30 PM. On Saturday, an 8:45- 9:45 AM practice session will be followed by the 1 PM start of the 30-minute Qualifying race to set the field for Sunday's race. An early Sunday morning warm-up from 9:30-- 10 AM will help with final car preparations for the 250-mile/112-lap/2-3/4-hour time-limited race, slated to start at Noon, Pacific Time.

Television coverage of the race of Round 6 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be LIVE on SPEED Channel with television coverage beginning at 3 PM ET. The three-hour coverage will be repeated on SPEED on Monday, May 8th at Noon ET.

Randy Ruhlman just came off a successful 2005 season in the Trans-Am Series with wins at both the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Cleveland Grand Prix. Chris Bingham, the two-time Grand American GTS champion, was a top competitor in Daytona Prototypes last year.

Bingham, of Bellevue, Washington, is a professional racing driver with an impressive resume and years of experience. He has competed in the Busch Grand National Series, open wheel racing in Indy Lights, as well as IRL, and has extensive endurance racing experience. As a two-time Rolex Sports Car Series GTS champion, Bingham was nominated as one of the "Best Road Racers of the Year" in 2002. He made his return to full time Rolex Series racing in 2004, piloting the #15 CB Motorsports car, before joining the Derhaag Motorsports team for 2006.

Ruhlman was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year", won the 2005 Long Beach Grand Prix Trans-Am race and Cleveland Grand Prix, and was runner up for the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship. Ruhlman makes the record books as fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history. Ruhlman from Greensboro, NC has been a professional race car driver since his Rookie year in Trans-Am in 1990 and has extensive racing experience, predominantly in road racing in the Trans-Am Series, as well as in IMSA, ASA and the NASCAR short track series.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Chris Bingham , Paul Gentilozzi , Randy Ruhlman , Tommy Kendall